Londres, Part Deux

And now I’m back in London for the second time this week. Seriously, being in 4 different timezones in the space of 5 days is really messing my bodyclock up, as well as my makan-clock. So it’s 11pm London time, and I’m peckish. Only one thing to do, walk down to Halal, the rather uncreatively-named yet delicious and laku restaurant across my place on Edware Rd.

Why on earth have I been writing about foreign foods lately, you ask.

Because, when I travel I like sampling local foods while finding some sort of relevance to Bruneian foods.

And because I am qolats mata berabis right now, I’ll do this rapid.

The middle-eastern restaurant has been a long-time favourite of mine, from it’s humble beginnings dulu masa lakat satu branch saja, until now ia ada sudah 4 branches around London.

Must-haves are:

Ani gambar perhiasan saja, this is just the menu cover. Don't get too excited yet.

I didn’t quite have all those above, but not too far off.

Bamiya

Bamiya is basically Okra or Ladies Fingers in hot and steaming tomato sauce. Excellent stuff when the night’s temperature is -6 Celsius. Just a bit of frost then.

Makannya sama this chapati-like roti.

Mesti jua sama these accompanying pickled chillis and olives.

The Nini Kebayan bawled when her yellow fingers were chopped off.

Dessertnya ani:

Fresh home-made baklava.

Then makan ani lagi, my all time favourite, lamb shawerma with (lots of!) garlic sauce:

And of course, I just had to have two of these shawermas. Tapi inda abis coz olredi I kebungkayangan sirrr…!

So kenapa kan mesti binge-eating mcm a bulimic baru kejumpahan biskut??

Padahal these foods semua ada in Brunei: Bamiya ada di Saffron or Ghawar (does this restaurant still exist kah?), Baklava ada di Baklasia Gadong, the Pickles and olives I’ve seen in Supasave and even Hua Ho, and the Shawerma ada di London Kebab Lambak and Sengkurong.

But somehow inda sama rasanya dengan yang di sini.

Tapinya, shawerma, kebab apa ani bukan jua asalnya di London!

Entah, aku pun nda tau sebenarnya and malas ingau pasal kalat mata ni. I’ll leave you to ponder on that fragrant fart from my semi-frozen brain, and perhaps you can then go on the solve the mystery of life.

Answers on a postcard or sila SMS jawapan awda ke nombor…

Limassol

So, I’m in Cyprus. OLLO!! ~ or whatever the word Hello is in Cypriot. (P.s. It’s actually “Yassas!!”)

22 hours and a missing-luggage later (thanks, Heathrow), I arrived in Lanarca, and was met by a rather burly, no, obese, chauffeur, who I really thought wouldn’t make the 150m walk to the car with all his wheezing and spluttering. Great, I thought, just what I need after a long flight – a driver who’s ready to die on me. But Peter didn’t die, thankfully, and he got me safely to my hotel in Limassol in one piece about 45 minutes later, having spilled out his entire life story as I feigned wide-eyed alertness. Don’t get me wrong, his stories were interesting, and I was amazed at his worldly knowledge and that he knew Brunei; but after my exhausting journey I just lost the will to live.

I managed only due to my excitement of arriving in Cyprus and absorbing its beautiful landscape and seascape in the fast disappearing daylight.

So I checked in, minus luggage and the obligatory roti-paun inti kacang itam I had packed (just in case, but not quite in this case). Famished, I walked looking for something to eat, but this being Sunday, not many shops were open. I finally found a small cornershop. I thought, well, if I’m gonna eat something, it’s gotta be something local.

I was spoilt for choice really, rasanya kan dibali semua makanan atu, juleng mato. I think the shopkeeper was a little suspicious watching me staying perhaps rather too long in the food section than most right-minded customers would. In the end I got these (amongst other things not shown here):

This one’s coconut candy coated in chocolate. I’ve had some other versions of this candy elsewhere, but this was a product of Cyprus from what I could tell from the Cypriot tulisan jawi. I suppose you can’t go wrong with coconut and chocolate, in Australia my favourite was the Lamingtons, cake coated in choc and coconut, which looks a bit like kuih kusui kitani, except kusui is made of caramelized palm sugar.

While I threw in a few chunks of these into my gob, I prepared myself for this ‘Pie with honey’. This doesn’t really look like any other pie I know, but it does remind me of Roti Bom. Sweet kaya and melted butter in folded prata.

And this was perhaps the most uninteresting of the lot – Cypriot version Danish pastry. First of all it’s not pastry, it’s bread, and secondly, there was nothing special about it.

The coconut candy really made me think: why don’t we produce those stuff in Brunei? We’ve got coconut, don’t we? The closest thing I’ve had like it in Brunei was years ago as a kid, and that was Pilipino sweet made by our Pilipino amah, which she called “kakanat kandee”. The other thing is, where the hell are the coconut trees in Cyprus? Nada pun ku teliat batang pokoknya langsung!

No doubt, in the last two days I’ve sampled a lot of other local delicacies, the haloumi, the feta, the many kinds of olives, the grilled foods, the seafood and the desserts, obviously. One I haven’t but must try is the octopus in vinegar. And demi negara, I shall foray into this beautiful island and eat as if I were representing Brunei at the Food Olympics and do it proud. At the rate I’m going, I might soon become Peter’s body double.